S&P 500 stumbled as value plunged – corona fears are back as Austria lockdown might very well be followed soon by Germany. The mood on the continent is souring, and coupled with accelerating German inflation data, helping to underpin the dollar. Overall, the reaction reminds me of the corona market playbook of Feb-Mar 2020 when I aggresively took short positions, riding them all the way down to the Mar 23 bottom. So, why am I not beating the bearish drum today as well?
We have a lot of incoming stimulus (both monetary and fiscal), the economy is slow but the yield curve hasn‘t inverted the way it did in 2019 – make no mistake, we‘re in a rate raising cycle (even if the Fed didn‘t move, the markets would force it down the road). I know, pretty ridiculous notion with 10-year yield at 1.54% and Oct YoY CPI at 6.2% – but the rates being even more negative elsewhere, help to explain the dollar 2021 resilience. That‘s the bullish side to last week‘s bearish argument.
What gold and silver are sniffing out, is that the Fed would have to reverse course once the tapering effects start biting some more – not now, with still more than $100bn monthly addition. Cyclicals and commodities that had massively appreciated vs. year ago (oil doubled), are feeling the pinch of fresh economic activity curbs speculation in spite of the polar shift of U.S. strength in energy of 2019 and before. Begging the OPEC+ to increase production might not do the trick, and with so much inflation already in (and still to come), the key investment theme is of real assets strength.
Precious metals have broken out, are no longer an underdog, and the inflation data will not decelerate for quite a few months still. And even as they would, it would come at a palpable cost to the real economy, and the resolute fresh stimulus action wouldn‘t be then far off. As I wrote in Apr 2020, it‘s about the continuous stimulus that‘s the go-to response anytime the horizon darkens, for whatever reason. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of www.stockcharts.com).
S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook
S&P 500 bulls still have the upper hand, and value recovery accompanied by good tech defence of high ground gained, is the awaited mix. The market breadth is narrowing, and needs to be reversed to give the bulls more breathing room.
Once corona returns to the spotlight, bets on „reversion to the mean“ in credit markets are off. Weakening data get more focus, and flight to safety is on, puncturing the trend of rising yields that would inevitably lead to yield curve control.
Gold, Silver and Miners
It‘s as if the gold and silver bulls don‘t trust the latest rally – I think that‘s a mistaken belief for we have turned the corner, and precious metals are about to shine – of course, invalidating the latest miners weakness in the process.
Crude oil bulls didn‘t recover from Friday‘s spanner in the works, and while the dust hasn‘t settled, black gold is prone to an upside reversal at little notice. I‘m not overrating the oil index weakness.
Copper smartly recovered, moving at odds with the CRB Index, which I treat (especially given Friday‘s Austria news repercussions) as a vote of confidence that the economy isn‘t rolling over to a deflationarry hell (pun intended).
Bitcoin and Ethereum
Bitcoin and Ethereum are still going sideways in this correction, but today‘s lower knot is encouraging. The consolidation though still appears to have a bit further to go in time.
S&P 500 bulls keep hanging in there, and the waiting for bonds to come to their senses might take a while longer. Tech keeps cushioning the downside, and we haven‘t peaked in spite of the many warnings. Value and Russell 2000 upswings would be good confirmations of the stock bull market getting fresh fuel. Precious metals would have the easiest run in the weeks ahead – commodities in general not so much. Their breather is though of a temporary nature as all roads lead to real assets.
Related: Investors: The Wild Card Is Back
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